Allen Webster admitted he had butterflies leading up to his first Major League start tonight in the second game of a doubleheader. But he also admitted that he learned a lot from missing location on pitches which cost him a chance to earn his first major league win.
Webster, who had drawn rave reviews from scouts covering the International League, allowed a pair of fifth inning homers to George Kottaras and Alex Gordon on fastballs that were left over the middle of the plate. He allowed three runs total, but only two earned over six innings.
Webster left leading 4-3, but Koji Uehara couldn't hold the lead when he surrendered a Billy Butler homer in the eighth inning. Webster, added as the 26th man (Major League rosters expand by one for doubleheaders), returned to Pawtucket knowing he had learned a valuable lesson.
The Red Sox eventually lost the nightcap, 5-4 in 10 innings.
“If you miss your spots, you’re gonna pay for it. Two home runs, so I paid for it,” Webster said..
Webster's first pitch — a 95-mph fastball to Alex Gordon — was sent to the wall in left field. The Royals did a lot of early count swinging.
“I wasn’t expecting a first-pitch swing,” said Webster. "But it happens. It was good to get my feet wet. Once he (Gordon) got on second I had to make my pitches and go from there.”
While appearing to have dominating stuff, one of the criticisms on Webster is he tends to throw too much over the plate. That was the case on 93-mph fastballs to Kottaras and Gordon.
Webster said he was buoyed by the crowd and the enthusiasm in the ballpark.
Webster was acquired from the Dodgers in the infamous August 25 trade when the Red Sox sent Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers. The Red Sox got back a few bodies, but two legitimate pitching prospects in Webster and Rubby De La Rosa.
De La Rosa is coming off Tommy John surgery and will come along slower, but he's capable of throwing 100 mph. Webster hit 98 on at least one pitch, but he was throwing his fastball from 93-95.